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Perspective (2016)




Nicole Cifra (2016)
graphite, 9″ x 11″

I started getting involved in art when I was in the seventh grade. I had a wonderful teacher who made learning art more mathematical and scientific, which resonated with me. I continued to draw through high school and college, participating in art shows and selling work here and there.

Upon beginning medical school, however, my art took on a whole new purpose. As I was memorizing structures of various organ systems, I would find myself sketching quite frequently to make 2D sketches out of the 3D structures from anatomy. As a visual learner, I found this helpful academically. As an artist, I found it rewarding to be able to interpret the beauty I was studying.

When I started neuroanatomy, I was fascinated by the brain. However, I found it difficult to keep track of where structures were spatially when there were so many different ways to dissect them. To help myself study, I drew a coronal section alongside an intact hemisphere so I could better appreciate the structures in relationship to one another.

When I spend any amount of time creating a piece of artwork, I retain it more quickly, as if my hands translate it into my memory. I’ll always be thankful for that teacher that helped me bridge the gap others had placed in my mind between art and science.

Nicole Cifra Nicole Cifra (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Upstate Medical University

Nicole is a MD/MPH Candidate at Upstate Medical University and will be graduating in May of 2016. She will be completing a pediatric residency at University of Rochester and plans to pursue a fellowship in adolescent medicine. She is passionate about eating disorders prevention and treatment.

  • Kate Joyce

    I love this! I really enjoy drawing everything out and making sketches (even metabolism pathways are a little more fun with some color)….some people say it’s a waste of time, but I think engaging the artistic part of the brain during learning is quite helpful for some of us!